Exports of California table grapes were once again an industry bright spot for the 2001-2002 season. The export totals through November 2001 show a value increase of 15 percent over the previous season and volume up by 8 percent. The previous season was a record for the California table grape industry.

In markets with active promotion by the California Table Grape Commission, nearly 19 million 21-pound boxes were sent overseas and to Mexico with a value of more than $240,385,302. In Asia alone, the volume shipped increased 17 percent and the value was up by 30 percent.

“The numbers through November are excellent,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. “When the final numbers are in for 2001, it should be another record year for exports.”

In addition to increased shipments, another export success story for 2001 was the addition of India as an export market. After four years of negotiations, the first shipment of California table grapes arrived in India in September, becoming one of the industry's top 20 export markets in its first year. With a population of one billion, many of whom are vegetarian, the long-range export potential to India is excellent.

“We are pleased with the numbers coming from India after such a short time,” Nave said. “We anticipate that India will quickly become an even larger market for California table grapes.”

California table grape exports worldwide have continued to grow year after year. Since 1994, exports have increased by 74 percent.

The California Table Grape Commission is the promotional arm of the state's table grape industry and its more than 600 farmers.

He's best prunner

Appleaday Vineyards' Manuel Chavez, expertly pruned 10 chardonnay vines in just over 13 minutes to win first place cash prizes totaling $1,200 in this year's annual Sonoma County Grape Growers Association grapevine pruning tournament.